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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Christmas Gift Dilemma

About this time of year, yes, even before Thanksgiving, I have family members asking what the kids would like for Christmas.  Actually, I had an email in September about it this year!

Truthfully, because they're still pretty little, anything wrapped in paper with their name on it, is a gift they'd love.  From a 25 cent rubber ball out of a vending machine to the $300 tree house Sammie saw in the American Girl catalog.

So, I started to take an assessment of what they have now.  Ready?

Rocking Horse (2)
Preschool games: Kanga-Banga Roo, First Alphabet Game, Chutes and Ladders, Slide n Ride, Alphabet Board Book, Memory Card/Match Games (4 sets), Candyland, Leapfrog Bingo, Dr. Suess ABC game, Scrabble Jr., Jenga, Dominoes, Uno, Go Fish
Building Things: Bright Builders, Legos (lg. box), Duplos (xl box), Zoob (250 pc. set) wooden and plastic baby blocks (3 sets), 
Tool/workbench w/ tools
Doctor kit (4 sets, plus crash cart)
Baby Cradle
Baby Carrying Bassinet
Baby dolls (5)
Baby Doll Stroller
Fire Engines (2 lg, w/ sound)
Dump Truck (1 lg. w/ sound and motion)
Caterpillar and Frog Pull-Behind Toys
Elmo Dolls (hokey pokey, tickle me and chicken dance)
Toddler Bowling (one plush, one plastic)
Mr. Potato Head (basic, plus Spiderman, Tinkerbell and Minnie/Mickey set)
Diego Adventure Play Set
Learning Play Telephone (3)
Care Bears (3, including two that sing solo or in harmony w/ each other)
Stacking Ring Set (one plush, one w/ stars, one that rattles and one with sound)
Stacking Toys (buckets, boxes and cups)
Pounding Peg Board (3)
See-n-Say Animal Sounds
Puzzles (animal w/ actual sounds, plastic ones for toddlers, counting and letter ones for preschoolers, wooden Noah's ark, United States map and nativity, Strawberry Shortcake, Pocahontas, David and Goliath)
Jasmine miniature doll w/ miniature clothes
Play money (about a million dollars' worth)
Stuffed Animals (16 in Ava's room, 30 in Chase and Sam's room including two Build-a-Bears and ones that snore, talk, giggle and even have heartbeats)
Tea Set (one singing plastic, one princess and two miniature porcelain)
Princess Tea Cart
Play Kitchen (one sink w/ cupboard, one pantry w/ working clock and one Little Tikes kitchen, all with full cookware, dinnerware and play fact, I think she has more pots and pans than I do)
Nightlight (one cow, one elephant, one doll, one princess)
Barbies (4)
Barbie Kitchen 
Magnetic Dress Up Dolls (princess, cowgirl and ballerina)
Just Like You American Girl Doll, plus sectional sofa
Salon Chair Set for American Girl Doll
V-tech Fly and Learn Globe
Princess Design-A-Dress
Crayola Paint Sprayer Set
Fisher Price Learn to Tell Time Clock
SpiderMan Doll (speaks, slings web and snores)
Spiderman Action Figure (one w/ moving 4-wheeler, one w/ moving motorcycle)
Pirate Set (telescope, dagger, patch)
A to Z Sesame Street Letter Book Set (w/ floor puzzle mat)
My Little Pony Barn (w/ 4 ponies)
Cinderella Princess Foam Chair
Create-Your-Own Jewelry Box
Train Table
Brio Train set (basic and safari set, plus a few extra engines)
Puppet Theater 
Puppets (6)
Ride On Toy 
Walk Behind/Ride On Toy for beginning walkers
Small Electric Keyboard
Sit On Toddler Keyboard/Music Toy
Dress Up Clothes (over 40, plus acessories; see here for great detail)
Crawl Through Expandable Gym (like this)
Fisher Price Barn (w/ animals)
Magnadoodle (1 lg, 2 sm.)
Giant Floor Puzzles (6 or so including Dora, pirate, castle, firetruck, dinosaur, plane, trucks)
Art Easel w/ 4 smocks
Sesame Street Pirate Ship
Princess Play Castle
Ariel Vanity (child-sized w/ mirror and stool)
Toddler Pinball Toy
Buzz Lightyear Bubble Machine
Rubbermaid container of infant toys (like rattles, crib toys, floor mats)
Aqua Doodle Floor Mat
Talking Parrot
Tambourine and Bongo Drum
Bin full of action/animal figures 
Playdough (Octopus set, zoo animal set and floor mats)
Bin full of all sized balls
Big Wheels (2)
Tricycles (2)
Red Flyer Wagons (2)
Jeep (battery-powered to ride in)
Elmo Guitar
Little Tikes Car (foot-powered like the Flinstones)
Two-Wheeled Princess Bicycle
Barbie 3-Wheeled Scooter
Little Tikes Ride-On Bike
Sandbox Toys
Light Sabers and Swords
Roller Skates (Barbie slip-on and pink over-the-shoes kind)
Movies (70 VHS tapes and 45 dvds)

I am NOT exaggerating and I'm sure I've forgotten many things.  Not to mention that many of the things listed above come with a dozen or more pieces with each set. And, each year we have the kids pick several toys to give to Goodwill before the Christmas season, so they can think, if only for a few moments, about children who have nothing.

How do I say "This is ridiculous!" without sounding ungrateful? We have a large family who are "gifters" and many friends who bless us with hand-me-downs when their children outgrow toys.  We are grateful for what we have, but truthfully, if our children never received another toy or game, they would be happy, well-rounded and (dare I say?) spoiled kids, having much more than many children will ever have.

So, if you feel you MUST give gifts for birthdays or the upcoming Christmas season, may we make some suggestions?

Consumable gifts are welcomed!  Like giant floor coloring books, craft kits, paint sets, markers and crayons, more face paints, poster board and construction paper.  We go through those like crazy and have so much fun doing it.  Non-craft consumable ideas: bubble bath or even bath paints.

Add to what they have. Like puppets for the puppet theater, American Girl Doll accessories for Sam's doll or more Brio train pieces for Chase's train set.

My favorite idea is anything that helps to make memories.  Passes to the Indianapolis Children's Museum or to our local Wonderlab.  A trip to the zoo with grandparents. Is there anything more fun?  Or a gift certificate to the local pottery-paint shop, The Latest Glaze. Having fun, making memories and a built-in keepsake.  (And nothing for mommy to clean up!)

If you have any other non-thousand-piece-toy idea, leave a comment.  Or, let me know what YOU'RE asking for for Christmas.  I've heard it's never too early...



  1. Thanks for the interesting post - that's quite a list.

  2. I love it. :) Looks like your kids have a toy or two. :) I think your memory gift ideas is the best; I often ask for memberships!

  3. I'll just refer all my kids' Christmas gift-givers to your post!

  4. For the very same reason, our children only get 3 gifts from Santa because Jesus received 3 gifts. They have never argued since its inception 3 years ago.

    And we always participate in Operation Christmas child and this year we are doing 4 shoe boxes instead of 2.